Popular culture reflects the mixture of native and immigrant peoples. While most places on Dominica have a Carib, a French or an English name, the indigenous Carib traditions and way of life have been localized in the northeast, giving way to a dominant amalgam of Créole (French and African) tradition.
Dominicans are proud of their local language, which is increasingly being used in print. A dictionary was published in 1991 by the Konmité pou Etid Kwéyol (Committee for Créole Studies). You can get hold of this at the Cultural Division, 30 Queen Mary Street on the corner of King George V Street in Roseau. Opposite is the cultural centre for the Carib community, Kalinago, which contains lots of general information about the Carib Reserve and its people and has a selection of Carib goods for sale. There has recently been a great increase in the awareness of the arts and crafts. Both at Caribana, the craft and art gallery, the Alliance Française French cultural centre, and in the media, the poets, writers and artists of Dominica have been reading or exhibiting their work. Ask at Caribana, T4487340, when the next poetry workshop or exhibition, is to be held, or wander the side streets of Roseau to find small shops and galleries. Dance and choral artists are active mostly around Christmas, when there are diverse concerts given by church choirs and Dominica’s National Chorale.
The best known of Dominica’s writers are the novelists Jean Rhys and Phyllis Shand Allfrey. Rhys (1894-1979), who spent much of her life in Europe, wrote mainly about that continent; only flashback scenes in Voyage in the Dark (1934), her superb last novel, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), which was made into a film in 1991, her uncompleted autobiography, Smile Please and resonances in some of her short stories draw on her West Indian experiences. Allfrey published only one novel, The Orchid House (1953); In the Cabinet was left unfinished at her death in 1986. Allfrey was one of the founder members of the Dominica Labour Party, became a cabinet minister in the short-lived West Indian Federation, and was later editor of the Dominica Herald and Dominica Star newspapers. The Orchid House was filmed by Channel 4 (UK) in 1990 for international transmission as a four-part series.